I know some of you are probably tired of seeing eggplant here. Eggplant recipes appear on this blog so often that I could probably change the name to FatFree Eggplant Recipes. But there’s a reason for that: I love eggplant! I think it’s one of the most versatile vegetables around. If you’ve been avoiding it because you’re afraid you won’t like it, I think it’s time you gave it a try. And this is the recipe you should try. It’s so good that even eggplant haters (like my daughter) like it.
If you’re eggplant-phobic, do as I did and find some smaller, light purple or white eggplants, like the ones in the photo on this page. They are usually denser, less spongy, and less bitter than the larger eggplants. In this recipe, they are peeled, which makes the texture more appealing to eggplant virgins, but you can also use Japanese eggplants with the skin on. They get soft rather than chewy, so be prepared for that before you chow down. Take a moment to savor the aroma of garlic, ginger, and sesame and then dig in. You will not fear eggplant anymore!
Eggplant and Tofu in Spicy Garlic Sauce
This Szechuan-style dish gets its heat from the chili sauce. Look in your Asian market for chili sauce or garlic chili sauce that has red chilies as its primary ingredient. Try to find the kind with the seeds intact, not the smoother type. Then adjust the amount to your desired level of spiciness.
- 1 pound extra-firm tofu (not silken)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (reduced sodium)
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
- 4 small eggplants, about 1-1/2 pounds total, peeled and sliced into strips 2-inches long, 1-inch wide, and 1/4-inch thick (or use one large eggplant)
- 1/3 cup water
- 6-8 garlic cloves, minced–about 2 tbsp.
- 1-inch peeled fresh ginger, grated
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth or water
- 1 tbsp vegetarian hoisin sauce
- 3 tbsp soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
- 3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp dark sesame oil
- 1/2 – 1 tbsp sugar or other sweetener
- 1/2 – 1 tsp hot chili sauce (available in Asian markets)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tomato, coarsely chopped
- sprinkling of sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
- Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch slices and press them lightly between towels to get some of the moisture out. Combine the 3 tbsp. soy sauce with the 2 tbsp. water and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil. Dip each slice of tofu into the mixture and set on a plate.
- Heat an oiled, non-stick skillet until hot. Place the tofu slices in the skillet and cook until browned. Turn over and brown the other sides. When the tofu is completely browned on both sides, remove it from the skillet and place it on a cutting board. Cut each slice into 8-10 cubes. Set aside.
- Heat an oiled, non-stick wok and add the eggplant and 1/3 cup water. Cover and cook, stirring often, until eggplant begins to brown. Uncover and add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes.
- While the eggplant is cooking, make the sauce. In a small mixing bowl, combine the 3/4 cup vegetable broth or water, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sweetener, chili sauce, and tomato paste.
- Add the sauce to the eggplant. Simmer uncovered until all the eggplant slices are completely cooked–they will be very soft and start to fall apart. Add the tofu cubes and tomato and cook until heated through. Serve over rice, sprinkled with sesame seeds if desired.
NOTE: Reduce the sodium by using water instead of broth, regular rice vinegar instead of seasoned, and reduced sodium soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce.
Preparation time: 25 minute(s) | Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Makes 4 servings. Each serving, without rice, contains 187 Calories (kcal); 8g Total Fat; (34% calories from fat); 12g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; trace Cholesterol; 716mg Sodium; 6g Fiber.
Want to check out the other eggplant recipes on this blog? There’s a whole section of them!